@CloudExpo Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, David Paquette, Kevin Jackson, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, PowerBuilder, Microsoft Cloud, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, CRM

Microservices Expo: Article

How Should CIOs Engineer the New Social Enterprise?

What is social enterprise software anyway?

As we know, Chief Information Officers are generally ‘change and upheaval averse' because it is, after all, mostly prudent to resist change. With change comes risk, new user training, new integration challenges and a bottom line with increased cost. But new social enterprise trends cannot be brought to bear without taking the necessary steps that form Business Process re-Engineering (BPE) and its associated evils.

If process re-engineering within the commercial space has indeed developed a bad name, this may be down to the fluffier of the fluffy management consultants who operate in this space. The serious, non-fluffy and very real process of moving to new social enterprise platforms is now a very pressing challenge for many CIOs (and CEOs) who realize that they must adapt to the new way of working practices if they are to optimize efficiency.

What Is Social Enterprise Software Anyway?
The kind of social business tools we are focusing on in this new zone of work practice include:

  • Blogs and microblogs
  • Wikis, knowledge banks and databases
  • Workflow activity tracking tools
  • Forums for community discussion
  • Tagging and bookmarking tools
  • Content recommendation and also people recommendation engines

Stuart McRae is executive collaboration evangelist at IBM, so that basically makes him a social enterprise software tool missionary devoted to explaining why this new obligation to change working practices is so important. The move to social enterprise tools is a bit like the email adoption boom of the early '90s he says. "Comments like ‘we'll never use email' gave way to conversations where CEOs asked their CIOs ‘why do all of my peers have an email address on their business card, but I don't?' - the concept of leveraging social media and networking for internal and external conversations is clearly Crossing the Chasm (in Geoffrey Moore's words), even if it is not yet mainstream."

Dominant Social Manifestations
McRae argues that the cultural, behavioral and organizational changes that will be the dominant manifestations of social business are only just now starting to appear.

We can look back at the last decade of the previous century and see that a massive change in our work methods brought about by the arrival of email was just one of a number of coincidental developments that drove new organizational models in every business vertical.

"[Email] combined with wide area networks, laptops, mobile phones, videoconferencing, mass air transportation and acceptance of English as a common language for business turned work into something you did from anywhere, not somewhere you went. [There has also been a] shift to services industries as the engine of growth and to globalization as the dominant organizational trend in business," said IBM's McRae.

He further argues that today, social media (and ultimately new social enterprise practices) are integrating with the proliferating use of mobile devices, cloud computing, analytics on Big Data and more besides. These factors will now coalesce and be amplified by (in all probability suggests McRae) a congruent set of "non-IT" trends like the emergence of major new world super-economies and mega-cities, low-cost airlines and high speed trains, rural broadband and true "always on" networks.

McRae's Seven Pillars of Social Enterprise Wisdom
For Stuart McRae there are seven pivotal stages, factors and facets of making social enterprise a success and these points may indeed form a checklist that CIOs should now be aiming to target.

#1 - Social enterprise is not a pilot. This is not a rehearsal and firms should realize that the progression to adopt these new tools is an imperative.

#2 - Senior stakeholders (and of course by that we generally mean employees) within the organization need to buy in to the social enterprise mindset and lead by example. It is not an "option" to use social enterprise tools; it is part of the job.

#3 - Closely linked to point #2 is the stipulation that social enterprise tools must be embedded at the heart of work for every user, i.e., social is not something you do as well as work, social is something you do as part of the way you work at the core.

#4 - We need social enterprise to flourish in an environment where there are no silos of excluded individuals so it must be open to all. The only caveat here is that grouped control of certain discussions where a need for confidentiality arises can still be managed. Everyone from the receptionist (or this may be the CEO's personal executive assistant) to the sales director has to get involved.

#5 - There must be integration with the way people work today, i.e., plug ins for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Word, to allow users to blog or integrate with social channels right from the application that they are already used to using. McRae notes that this is core to IBM's product portfolio in this space.

#6 - The firm must continually monitor and look for obstacles that might impede or slow down social enterprise adoption and eradicate and remove these hindrances when they are identified.

#7 - A social firm will need to create and build communities of champions that record their success and barriers as they carry out their own idea generation. Ideas need to pass through a process of (i) suggestion (ii) discussion (iii) voting and (iv) graduation.

Note: It's important to remember that outgoing and gregarious sales directors are often excellent external communicators, but very poor when it comes to their internal messaging. For this reason, the receptionist may win over the sales director in terms of social enterprise champion.

How Do We Get Truly Social?
"In many organizations, successful use of social tools is happening today when small groups of employees with a common pain point figure out how to address them by finding a suitable social platform and focusing on their problem, not the tool. While the choice of a poor tool will prevent success, you will not hear about those projects - just the ones that succeed - and there the selected tool only needs to be ‘good enough' for the specific problem in hand," said McRae.

Social business practices and the wider development of social enterprise platforms and tools by major IT vendors from IBM but also Box, Cisco Systems, Citrix Online, Google, Microsoft, salesforce.com and Yammer are already having a major impact upon the way we work. We, the users, are driving these trends through our own preferences for using tools such as Twitter and Facebook in the mainstream outside of the workplace.

There will be a need to agree upon and implement acceptable levels of net-based etiquette to corral and control our use of social enterprise tools. But as IBM's McRae insists upon asking, "Isn't all etiquette social anyway?" It can't be that hard to be social, can it?

This post first appeared on CIO Enterprise Forum here.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Complete Internet of Things (IoT) embedded device security is not just about the device but involves the entire product’s identity, data and control integrity, and services traversing the cloud. A device can no longer be looked at as an island; it is a part of a system. In fact, given the cross-domain interactions enabled by IoT it could be a part of many systems. Also, depending on where the device is deployed, for example, in the office building versus a factory floor or oil field, security ha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
Governments around the world are adopting Safe Harbor privacy provisions to protect customer data from leaving sovereign territories. Increasingly, global companies are required to create new instances of their server clusters in multiple countries to keep abreast of these new Safe Harbor laws. Is it worth it? In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Adam Rogers, Managing Director of Anexia, Inc., will discuss how to keep your data legal and still stay in business.
Successful transition from traditional IT to cloud computing requires three key ingredients: an IT architecture that allows companies to extend their internal best practices to the cloud, a cost point that allows economies of scale, and automated processes that manage risk exposure and maintain regulatory compliance with industry regulations (FFIEC, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, FISMA). The unique combination of VMware, the IBM Cloud, and Cloud Raxak, a 2016 Gartner Cool Vendor in IT Automation, provides a co...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
All clouds are not equal. To succeed in a DevOps context, organizations should plan to develop/deploy apps across a choice of on-premise and public clouds simultaneously depending on the business needs. This is where the concept of the Lean Cloud comes in - resting on the idea that you often need to relocate your app modules over their life cycles for both innovation and operational efficiency in the cloud. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at19th Cloud Expo, Valentin (Val) Bercovici, CTO of So...
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
One of biggest questions about Big Data is “How do we harness all that information for business use quickly and effectively?” Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or spatial technology is about more than making maps, but adding critical context and meaning to data of all types, coming from all different channels – even sensors. In his session at @ThingsExpo, William (Bill) Meehan, director of utility solutions for Esri, will take a closer look at the current state of spatial technology and ar...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...